Veteran forward Brian Boyle has his eyes set on the New Jersey Devils’ season opener on Oct. 7 despite being diagnosed with leukemia after a team physical at the start of camp. The NHL journeyman said he’s feels “as close to normal as you can feel,” although doctors have not given a timetable on his return.
Boyle, a 32-year-old center who signed a two-year, $5.1 million deal with the Devils, has chronic myeloid leukemia, which can be treated with medication. It is the same diagnosis that fellow forward Jason Blake played through during the 2007 season.
In a conference call on Tuesday, team doctor Michael Farber said Boyle’s treatments will be monitored closely and they expect him to respond well to medication. He said Boyle showed minimal symptoms before his diagnosis.
“We have a good plan of attack and I look forward to getting on the ice and playing,” Boyle said.
Boyle, who welcomed a daughter with his wife Lauren in May, has spent time on several NHL rosters throughout his career, including the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. He has amassed 169 points in 624 games.
“We don’t have to be asking about it all the time,” Boyle said of his diagnosis. “If I suck one night, it’s because I sucked, not because of any other reason. And hopefully if that’s the biggest issue, then that’s a good thing.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.